Friday, December 7, 2007

How to design a Christmas stocking

I work in a very small office. We are currently located in a nice 1922 house, and the staff tops out at 5 or 6. Our numbers swell seasonally - we run two First Night events on New Year's Eve and a rather intense summer concert season from June through August - but at the moment we are on skeleton crew.

One of our staff members had a baby last May, and I covered her duties while she was on maternity leave. I bought some yarn in May to knit said baby a sweater...and a hat.

I just finished the sweater & hat set last week, and I'm planning to give them to my friend at the holiday office party. It's a secret - she doesn't know yet, although everyone else at the office does.

So, we were chatting before the staff meeting a few weeks ago, and my friend asked if I knew anyone who could knit a Christmas stocking for her young son. I rose to the bait, no problem. She presented me with son #1's stocking, and I counted stitches and wrote out a pattern. This stocking is knit from Red Heart, but I won't knit with that yarn - I don't like the way it feels. I have some Wool Ease in my stash that I bought last winter for the Mother Bear Project, and that will do nicely.

She wanted the new stocking to have a reindeer on it. So I googled around and found things like these:
Lots of possibilities... I was particularly taken with the Mark Darcy Reindeer sweater from the first Bridget Jones movie. Of course, what's not to like if Colin Firth is wearing it?

My friend came back in the next day with some more images from catalogs, and she chose the reindeer in this design:

I have fairly limited drawing skills, but my workmate Jill is a bona fide Artist, so I got her to draw the little feller on some knitter's graph paper

And then I pixilated him. Is that a word?

I did this by placing the line drawing on a computer screen/light table and positioning a clean sheet of knitter's graph paper over it, then I used a pencil to draw a square by square outline of the reindeer design.I had to do this twice, because the first time the design stuck out beyond the stocking shape. So I repositioned a clean sheet and drew it out again at a better angle.

This was on 8 sts to the inch, so then I plotted the design area - the shape of the stocking - on some 5 sts to the inch paper, and plotted the deer design as it would appear on the stocking. My working chart is on the left in the picture below:

And then I started knitting!

I will duplicate stitch the name, so that is just a big open area now. I got into the design area and worked down through the antlers and into the face when I realized that I was knitting the reindeer on the wrong side of the stocking - on the left instead of the I frogged that section and started back in. You can see the antlers again!

I hope to get some time to finish the intarsia section this weekend, and then the rest will be fairly easy. I am knitting the top or leg portion of the stocking back and forth to facilitate intarsia knitting and then I will join the stitches into a circle at the ankle and work the rest of the stocking on dpns or a short circ.

Thanks for all the comments & contest entries. Keep 'em coming!


ikkinlala said...

I love the colours in that sweater and hat. And what a cute reindeer!

Denise said...

Melissa, that sweater set is adorable! I'm sure your coworker will love it - who wouldn't be thrilled to get such a great gift?

Can't wait to see the finished reindeer stocking too.